In the second episode of our new weekly feature called ‘In the Know’ we speak to League Express journalist Matt Shaw (@M_Shaw1) as he gives the lowdown on all things Warrington Wolves.
Warrington had a difficult season last year. Do you feel they’ll have put that behind them and we’ll see the Warrington of old in 2018?
Yes, but not instantly. There will be a bedding in period for Steve Price and the new-look squad, but you can’t keep a good team down and Wire will eventually come good.
They’ve made a few big signings this year. What do you think these sort of players will bring to the Warrington squad?
I think as a collective unit they’ll bring a freshness to the squad. Life under Tony Smith sadly became stale after a fantastic spell, but they say a coach has a lifespan and that can probably relate to a squad too. There’s no doubting the talent they’ve recruited. It’s certainly an exciting year.
Obviously one signing is Ben Murdoch-Masila who was formerly with Salford. What do you think he’ll offer to Wire?
An obvious observation, granted, but he’ll give them some much needed size. Over the past two years we’ve seen more and more clubs go for bigger forwards. Hull FC and Wakefield are the best examples. In comparison, Warrington probably lacked that sheer size in the pack compared to others. Big Ben will help change that.
They’ve got a new Coach in Steve Price. What do you know about him and how do you expect Warrington to play under his stewardship?
Steve comes with a fantastic reputation, but not so much for the expansive attacking play we’ve come to expect from Warrington. When I first interviewed him his go-to phrase was “tough to beat.” He’s a defensive based coach and that will mean a noticeable change to Warrington’s brand of rugby.
Overall, what are your predictions for Warrington in 2018?
A steady start that will see them go under the radar before picking up momentum once the Super 8s arrive. Will it be their year? Very hard to say, but if you were judging it on mere quality, they’ve every chance.
Rugby League Newspaper League Express have named two Salford Red Devils in their ones to watch for the 2018 Super League season.
New signing Levy Nzoungou was named as the Salford’s ‘Rookie to excite us in 2018’ with the League Express tipping the French forward to make an impact off the bench with his ‘tremendous strength and leg speed’.
Nzoungou joined the Red Devils from Championship side Toulouse Olympique after successful spells in the youth ranks at St Helens and Melbourne Storm.
Meanwhile, fellow 2018 acquisition Ben Nakubuwai has been named as one of ’23 under 23’s to watch in 2018’ by the League Express.
Nakubuwai had an impressive 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign which saw him make five appearances for Fiji on their road to the semi-finals. The World Cup star comes to the AJ Bell Stadium after a spell in the NRL with Gold Coast Titans.
Both Nzoungou and Nakubuwai could make their first team debuts for the Salford Red Devils this weekend in our opening pre-season friendly against Swinton Lions on Sunday.
Our 2018 Season Launch will also take place on Sunday in the 1873 suite from 10:30am.
Tickets for our Season Launch event (including game ticket) are priced as follows:
Adult (Season Ticket Holder): £13
Concession (Season Ticket Holder): £8
Adult (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £15
Concession (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £10
Regular ticket prices for just the game are:
Tickets for our opening pre-season friendly against Swinton are available at the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
Also, Season Tickets for our 2018 Super League season are still available at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online here. Remember, if you wish to pay for your 2018 Season Ticket in six monthly Direct Debit instalments you must purchase from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone.
Salford Red Devils’ Kriss Brining has been nominated for the Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year, as published in today’s League Express.
Brining has impressed this season for the Red Devils since signing from League One side York City Knights. The hooker has made 21 appearances for Salford in all competitions scoring four times while making a continuous impact as an interchange acting half-back.
Brining is looking to become the first Salford player to win the award, which is for players with less than 10 Super League appearances to their name before the start of the season.
He said: “Obviously, I’m delighted to be nominated for the award and it’s come following a relatively good season for me personally. It’s been a big step up since moving from York but I’m really enjoying it here at Salford.
“Results haven’t been going our way as of late but it’s still nice to get put forward for an award for my contributions to Salford’s season.
“There’s a lot of good young players on the shortlist who’ve all impressed this season so to be named among these other players is pleasing.
“I just want to finish the season strongly and hopefully help the lads get a few wins before the end of September.”
Kriss is on an eight-man shortlist along with Tom Davies (Wigan), Regan Grace (Saints), Liam Marshall (Wigan), Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield), Danny Richardson (Saints), Danny Walker (Widnes) and Jack Walker (Leeds).
League Express Editor Martyn Sadler said: “All Rugby League supporters like to see the emergence of young stars in our sport and we are delighted to encourage the development of young players who are new in Super League by giving a medal whose prestige can be seen from the list of former winners.”
Previous winners of the award are Luke Burgess (2008), Sam Tomkins (2009), Liam Watts (2010), Jermaine McGillvary (2011), John Bateman (2012), Tom Lineham (2013), Joe Burgess (2014), Andre Savelio (2015), Max Jowitt (2016).